THE ADVENTUROUS Art Davis saw little value in modesty. He called himself the "world's greatest bassist," and many jazz giants, notably John Coltrane, agreed. The classically trained genre hopper ("It all sounded good to me," he said), who turned to jazz after encountering resistance in his early searches for classical jobs, accompanied singers from Lena Horne to Bob Dylan, played in TV and Broadway orchestras and backed Coltrane on such recordings as Olé Coltrane and Ascension. In the '70s, his unsuccessful discrimination suit against the New York Philharmonic got him blacklisted, so he added a new profession to his résumé: clinical psychologist. Davis was 73 and had a heart attack.
BY THE END OF A FIERY, 14-minute live performance on The Ed Sullivan Show in 1961, banjo-playing singer-songwriter Tommy Makem, with his bandmates the Clancy Brothers, had catapulted Irish folk music into the mainstream. By infusing tunes like Four Green Fields and Gentle Annie with a raw, modern energy, the charismatic baritone became one of the biggest stars of the '60s folk revival. Among his fans: Bob Dylan, John Hammond and John F. Kennedy, who in 1963 asked the group to play at the White House. Makem was 74 and had cancer.
HE WAS BEST KNOWN AS THE guru who launched Nancy Sinatra's career by writing and producing the racy, iconic tune These Boots Are Made for Walkin', a No. 1 hit for Sinatra in 1966. Yet a decade earlier, the work of Lee Hazlewood (below) was drawing attention from a young Phil Spector, who was intrigued by the hit sounds Hazlewood created for teenager Duane Eddy, using a grain elevator to create reverb and twang. The anti-Establishment artist, who helped spur country-pop, shunned fame by escaping to Sweden in the '70s. But by the '90s the master of "cowboy psychedelia" had been rediscovered by alternative-rock bands like Primal Scream and Sonic Youth. Of his cult status he said, "Thank God for kids that love obscure things." He was 78.
A PARIS-BORN JEW AND THE son of Polish immigrants, Cardinal Jean-Marie Lustiger sparked plenty of controversy --especially as Archbishop of Paris. Despite feeling hurt by Jewish leaders who called him a traitor, Lustiger, the only modern Catholic prelate to be born Jewish (he converted at age 14), aggressively pursued a bridge-building agenda that included denouncing anti-Semitism and championing interfaith relations. Asked to sum up his life, Lustiger, whose mother died at Auschwitz, said he was "a Cardinal, a Jew and the son of an immigrant." He was 80.
WITH A LANDMARK 1961 book, The Destruction of the European Jews, Raul Hilberg argued that the Holocaust had resulted not from a single preconceived plan by Adolf Hitler but from a vast bureaucracy involving thousands of minor characters and decisions. In doing so, Hilberg pioneered the academic study of the Holocaust and established himself as its pre-eminent scholar. He was 81.
UNTIL PIONEERING MAKEUP artist Bill Tuttle stunned audiences with his work in 1964's 7 Faces of Dr. Lao--which featured Tony Randall as everyone from Merlin to Medusa--cosmetic artistry was hardly recognized. In 1965 the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences awarded Tuttle an honorary Academy Award, paving the way for the official Oscar category, established in 1981. He was 95.
HIS LAW-SCHOOL CLASSMATE Thurgood Marshall achieved broader fame. But during a six-decade career, Oliver Hill was one of the nation's most influential advocates on behalf of civil rights. Hill, who once had 75 civil rights cases pending, led a Virginia suit that became part of 1954's Brown v. Board of Education, in which the Supreme Court declared segregated public schools unconstitutional. He was 100.